Lookie there! Spend money on experiences, not things!

17 thoughts on “Lookie there! Spend money on experiences, not things!”

  1. I couldn’t agree more either! My wife and I live by the same philosophy – we are okay spending money on experiences (within reason) because the memories last so much longer. In fact, we got married in St. Lucia. We’ve since been to Turks & Caicos and Mexico, and I regret spending the money on none of those trips. There are hundreds of items in my home (or in the trash) that I do regret spending the money on – and those are material possessions. This post kicks ass Steve! I’ll be sharing it.

    1. Hey Chris,

      That sounds like an awesome place to get married. You’re well traveled, more so than me. But, I’m trying to fix that. I’ve been to Mexico and loved every minute of it. It’s amazing how cheap things are down there. The hell with more crap.

      Give me a kickin’ vacation any day of the week and I’ll be a happy camper!

  2. Spot on. One of my most memorable experiences was a trip to Scotland (Islay) to tour my favorite distilleries and then hopped over to Ireland. We never got to go on a honeymoon as I worked for an asshole beer distributor who let me off early on Friday (2 hours), married on Saturday, back at work 6am on Monday.

    I also believe that getting rid of stuff can make you happier too…clearing out the crap that you built up is like a nice purge.

    1. Hey Brian,

      Wow, sounds like that beer distributor truly was an asshole. I bet he felt generous, too, by giving you that additional 2-hours of time off. Life is much too short to work for people like that. Good on you for fixing that little situation. 🙂

      I agree that the purge is nice too. When I moved into my wife’s home shortly before we married, I went through that process in my old house. It’s just amazing how much stuff piles up over the years that you just live with and don’t even really notice. Crap here, crap there. Just piles of junk. All paid-for junk, too.

      Your trip to Scotland sounded like a blast. I wanna do that. 🙂

  3. I’ve made this transition as well over the past few years. I sold my car once I moved to NYC, and now share an apartment with two of my friends. With those costs I cut I’m able to travel (2 cruises planned this year, trip to Appalachian mountains, and a couple bachelor parties). While that might seem a little over zealous for someone in the FI/RE community, my other expenses are extremely low and therefore I’m still able to max out 401k, IRA, HSA, while paying down debt and saving elsewhere. So therefore this is not an area I will cut back on as there are the things I know I’ll remember for years to come. Not some fancy watch or car.

    1. Americans waste a TON of money on cars, and the fact that you don’t have one probably does free up a lot of resources to do much more enjoyable things like, in your case, travel. Like you, my wife and I enjoy traveling as well. We have 5 trips planned this year (one was taken back in January). The big one this year is Glacier National Park in July. Next year, it’s our cruise up to Alaska in the summer.

      Definitely looks like you’re doing it the right way. You definitely have your priorities straight – I sure wish I did earlier in my life. Oh well…all’s well that ends well, right? 🙂

  4. We definitely live this way — in theory. And where we find that it gets sticky, or becomes a slippery slope, is outdoor gear. Because it lets you DO more things, have more experiences. We live in an outdoorsy town, so this is a constant temptation and struggle. It’s easy to justify a new pair of skis, a new backpack, a new water bottle… but ultimately it’s all just STUFF. Totally agree with you and other commenters — travel is worth it. We have never regretted our spending on trips, even some of the splurgier ones.

    1. True, the ability to DO more things outdoors might also encourage you to spend more on peripherals. But in the end, we still ultimately come back to one question: are those skiis (or whatever is in front of us) worth nixing our vacation plans for later in the year?

      Almost always, the answer is “nope”.

  5. Totally agree. My husband and I prefer to spend on experiences. That’s the primary reason we had a small wedding, so we could spend more on the honeymoon.

  6. Definitely agree, but outside of the personal finance community, I think we’re in the minority. Great article!

    P.S. You had 8 motorcycles!? Where did you put them all???

  7. All I can say is here, here! Now, I actually combine the experience and work together. I know that sounds weird, but I can get my university to pay for me to go abroad and I can bring my wife with for little to no money. Definitely would rather do that than buy crap I don’t need.

    1. That sounds fantastic, Jason – you’re taking well advantage of your job that lets you travel by bringing your wife with you and making an experience out of it. That is exactly what I’d do if I were in your shoes as well. Good choice. 🙂

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